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The Doves' Nest and Other Stories



Beyond the balcony, the garden, the palms and the sea lay bathed in quivering brightness.

page 109

Not a leaf moved; the oranges were little worlds of burning light. There was the sound of grasshoppers ringing their tiny tambourines, and the hum of bees as they hovered, as though to taste their joy in advance, before burrowing close into the warm wide-open stocks and roses. The sound of the sea was like a breath, was like a sigh.

Did the little group on the balcony hear it ? Mother's fingers moved among the black and gold coffee-cups; Miss Anderson brought the most uncomfortable chair out of the salon and sat down. Mr. Prodger put his large hand on to the yellow stone ledge of the balcony and remarked gravely, " This balcony rail is just as hot as it can be."

" They say," said Mother, " that the greatest heat of the day is at about half-past two. We have certainly noticed it is very hot then."

" Yes, it's lovely then," murmured Milly, and she stretched out her hand to the sun. " It's simply baking ! "

" Then you're not afraid of the sunshine ? " said Mr. Prodger, taking his coffee from Mother. " No, thank you. I won't take any cream. Just one lump of sugar." And he sat down balancing the little, chattering cup on his broad knee.

" No, I adore it," answered Milly, and she began to nibble the lump of sugar . . .